Deth Trap – MANX Airsoft’s Adam S’ OP Rockslide AAR
We’ve got Adam S from MANX Airsoft this time out to give us an expansive AAR on their recently held MilSim.
The Isle of Man, synonymous with the renowned TT Racing is also home to a small tenaciously passionate and plucky band of Airsoft aficionados. Hell bent on raising realism, immersion and positively raising the pastimes profile, not just on home turf but globally – on the 6th to 8th July they assembled for their most audacious and ambitious event yet …
So get the coffee on and settle down and read through Adam’s detailed and immersive report capturing all the action – S23
OP Rockslide AAR
For the many that have probably never heard of the Manx Airsoft Club or the Isle of Man, here’s a quick rundown. Situated in the middle of the Irish Sea, the Isle of Man (often referred to as ‘The Rock‘) with a population of 84,000 is pretty much known for a certain world-renowned road racing event.
The Airsoft scene on the Island is pretty small, probably around 50-60 players in total, which just about supports two clubs on the Island. The Manx Airsoft Club has been around for about 17 years and has always been run by a committee of around seven as a non-profit club. Our current site started off as some unused farming land that we’ve built up over time with bunkers, fortifications, trenches and other features. In building up the club, through adding to the fleet of hire guns, attracting more players and improving the site we’ve always been keeping an eye out for one off sites that we could make use of for special events.
We happened to find out about a disused slate quarry that was owned by the Isle of Man Government, and fortunately they were open to us using the quarry for the event. After the first site visit, as the pictures show, we felt the only scenario that would fit the venue was one based around Afghanistan, as the whole site felt like something straight out of Lone Survivor.
6th July 2017
Korengal Valley, Eastern Afghanistan, Pakistan Border.
Since the planned retraction of US Coalition Troops in the Korengal Valley in 2016 the indigenous OpFor has engulfed tribal villages and occupied former US bases, including the famed ‘RESTREPO’ outpost.
With the inauguration of President Trump and his commitment to assisting partner forces in the country, 1500 troops of the combined 82nd Airborne Division and 2nd SFOD (DELTA) have been dispatched to the area to secure previously held territory.
Operation Rockslide, one of three concurrent operations, has been authorised by JSOC and Presidential decree to push out the opposition forces and provide security again to once pro US region and restore trust from the local inhabitants, all US forces will InFil via Chinooks to the Kunar River and aggressively advance to contact in the direction of Pech.
To guarantee a favourable result JSOC has appointed Major Hank Hoffman of the 2nd SFOD Group to spearhead all ground operations from his rolling command HQ, based at the InFil zone he will provide on the ground intel back to JSOC and coordinate the 82nd Airborne and CAG teams in their taskings.
The objective of the Operation code named ‘Rockslide‘ is to:
•De-seat the occupying forces
•Capture OpFor Hierarchy
•Locate evidence of troop movements into Pakistan
•Retrieve captured US Military equipment/supplies
•Secure surrounding area
Partner forces entrenched on the outskirts of the valley have indicated that former Chechen Rebel forces have reinforced the previously outnumbered local militias, bolstering their standing force up to 1000 combatants. This information has not been confirmed but contacts within the local tribal leadership are said to be reliable.
Further intel indicates Mustafa A’Shan’Dy, linked to the Beslan School Massacre, has been possibly located in the area which is of great concern to the partner forces. A’Shan’Dy’s reputation within the community is revered and is well known for his successful counter US operations in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention similar conflicts against Russia in previous years). A’Shan’Dy is an adversary not to be taken lightly and US forces will need to use cunning and perfected strategy to defeat him.
US Forces were tasked with patrolling through the area in order to meet with a village elder in order to improve coalition relations with the local populace and also to hopefully obtain any intelligence on recent enemy movements.
The US Commander met with the village elder around 10:30 hours with all around cover provided by US Forces. However OpFor had already made contact with the elder and had convinced him to act on their behalf, and lied in waiting for the signal to attack.
Briefly after the meeting began the elder gave the signal to OpFor to initiate their ambush, at which point the valley erupted with the sound of remotely detonating pyrotechnics, reaper TAG rounds, Mk5 grenades and smoke grenades, along with a barrage of AEG fire from both sides. The US Forces sustained some casualties to key personnel during the opening barrage of the assault which required them to maintain the contact and attempt to push the front line away and allow them to medic these individuals back into the fight (the game rules allowed for the first hit to be dealt with by any player, the second by a dedicated medic (of which each team had 3) and on the final hit the player had to return to respawn, which was intentionally a small hike away to keep players focused on not ‘wasting’ their lives).
After returning these players to the fight, and with the sound of pyrotechnics still echoing around the quarry and surrounding valley, the US Forces withdrew slightly in order regroup and begin their mission taskings.
The first two objectives for the US Forces required them to retrieve stolen mortar rounds, return them to command for evaluation and then transport these rounds from command up to an old US mortar position which overlooks the entire valley. The US Forces were able to quickly secure the mortar rounds and return them to command, however due to the layout of the site (with only two points to cross into each main area), by regrouping the US Forces allowed the OpFor to occupy the high ground over these crossing points and also at the old mortar position itself. Both sides fought fiercely over the high ground and US Forces continually trying to push uphill towards the mortar position, knowing that they had to achieve this objective by 12:00 hours in order to make use of the mortar, and prevent the OpFor from capturing and stealing the mortar for future use.
Whilst getting close on a number of occasions, through occupying the opposing high ground from the mortar position, the US Forces were unable to press the advantage before the OpFor were able to either medic their players backs into the fight or get to the respawn and get back into position to repel the US Forces.
Having been able to secure the mortar position, the US Forces were then tasked to retrieved a downed pilot which was located in a bolder field at the top of the site, close to the OpFor held mortar site. The US Forces were again required to fight up through the site in order to reach the pilot and extract him back through the site to their respawn point, by 13:00 hours. For a while the US Forces were kept back on the opposing side of the site, unable to push through the low ground pass to begin to make headway up the hill. The OpFor kept the US Forces back with effective use of the high ground, a sniper who was able to reach out to players before they could get close to causing trouble and some liberal use of reaper TAG rounds from a Carl Gustav 84mm.
Eventually the US Forces managed to breakthrough the low ground and begin to force their way up the hill side, with each tier of the quarry having to be hard won. The US Forces made a decisive break up the right flank which provided greater cover from OpFor fire from the high ground. At the same time a smaller element of the US Forces managed to make use of the distraction provided by the larger attack to get up to the final tier of the quarry and hit the OpFor in the opposing flank. The US Forces were able to secure the downed pilot just before 13:00 hours but were unable to return them back to the respawn before lunch was called.
After an hour break for lunch, the game resumed with both teams looking to firstly locate and retrieve a number of Fuel Cans, followed by two parts of a US Missile that had been lost. Through the game there were also numerous secondary objectives which allowed each team to accumulate points alongside the primary missions, which included the control of certain areas of the site, retrieval of intel caches and ammo tins, which needed to be combined in order to unlock the padlock (the intel caches contained the codes to the padlocks, however they were written in Arabic and therefore also required the teams to locate the intel cache with the decoding card). With the Fuel Cans and missile parts spread across the site, the fire fights starting popping up all over the site whereas they had been more concentrated during the morning, although the tempo of the fire fights continued, along with the volume of Mk5’s being thrown which provided a brilliant sound track to the event.
The US Forces were able to retrieve one of the three fuel cans and one part of the missile, whilst the OpFor forces secured two fuel cans and the other part of the missile. The game continued through until 16:00 hours with both teams fighting over these objectives and the higher ground. The final showdown of the day was centred around the only larger structure on the site, a stone tower. Each team was tasked with accumulating as much time in control of this area as possible. Initially the location of this position favoured the US Forces with the structure being located on their ‘side’ of the site, which allowed them to secure the high ground around it. However as the final hour drew on it appeared the demanding nature of the site took its toll on some of the US Forces players, who finished early, leaving the US Forces undermanned compared to the OpFor. At the same time as this, the OpFor were able to gain a foothold at the structure and were able to begin accumulating control time which they held through until EndEx at 17:00 hours.
With Day Two came a few changes to the teams, as some players were only able to make the Saturday and so the respawn points were swapped around and also brought closer together to make sure that players weren’t spending more time walking between respawns, given the slightly lower team sizes. Some of the objectives were also tweaked slightly to ensure that they worked better with the new team sizes as they were originally designed around a few more players than were in attendance on Sunday.
The US Forces were first tasked with securing a drugs cache and holding huge position until they could be secured and destroyed, with OpFor tasked with preventing this destruction. The change of respawn points provided the US Forces with easier access the the higher ground that overlooked the cache area and they took full advantage by positioning a small fire team element on this high ground and regularly reenforcing it when OpFor looked to be making any progress at unseating them. Alongside this high ground, the US Forces also pushed out from the cache area and prevented the OpFor from easily accessing the low ground crossing point of the site. Even with significant use of Mk5’s and TAG rounds, the US Forces were able to frustrate each OpFor advance and hold the cache until 11:00 hours.
Following the secure destruction of the drugs cache, both teams were tasked to locate an F16 Blackbox which US Forces needed to retrieve to prevent classified intelligence being obtained by OpFor. The US Forces, capitalising on the control of the high ground from the previous objective, formed a corridor effectively funnel their forces up through the site whilst preventing the OpFor from gaining a foothold, which led to the US Forces securing the Blackbox quickly and returning it to respawn. However by collapsing their Forces back down the hill whilst returning the objective, this crucially surrendered the high ground to the OpFor, allowing them to gain a foothold in the opposing side of the site and allowed them to set up a defense around the next objective.
The third objective of the day required the US Forces to locate a stolen Hellfire missile and transport it for disposal across the site, which unfortunately for US Forces was located in the area of the high ground which had been secured by the OpFor, with only an hour and 15 minutes to achieve the objective by 12:30 hours. On a number of occasions the US Forces were almost able to break the defense of the OpFor, however at key points the OpFor were able to reenforce their dwindling forces. Eventually the US Forces were able to break the defensive line and gain control of the Hellfire missile, although only a few minutes later OpFor were able to regain control of the missile and return it back to its original location, which only had one point of access. The US Forces regrouped from this loss and were able to secure the area of the Hellfire and begin to transport it down into the low ground of the site to head towards the secure destruction area.
By having to proceed through the low ground of the site, this allowed the OpFor to take control of the fire fight by holding the high ground on the other side of the site, which was obscured from the US Forces held high ground. This advantage allowed the OpFor to pin the US Forces down and preventing them from being able to break through the destruction site. By 12:30 hours the US Forces had still been able to push through to the destruction site, with continuous OpFor fire keeping them back. At this point lunch was called on Day Two of the event.
During the lunch break the scheduled objectives were slightly rearranged so take account of the smaller team sizes and that by half way through Day Two it was clear that the arduous nature of the site was taking its toll physically. The changes brought the objectives closer together although they still required the teams to work their way up and down the site.
The first set of objectives after the break required the US Forces to work their way up the tiers of one side of the site and disarm 4 mine fields, one on each tier of the site. This objective forced the US Forces to split themselves between securing the current minefield but also to maintain a level of security on the high ground to allow them to work their way up as each minefield was successfully disarmed. The US Forces were able to secure and disarm three of the four minefields during 14:30 hours deadline.
Throughout the second day, the same secondary objectives were also available for players to secure, including the control points, intel caches, ammo tins and introduced during the second day were HVT cards, with five players from each side being assigned a HVT card which they were required to surrender if asked by an opposing player. The inclusion of these secondary objectives let the game continue to flow even when primary objectives had been completed quicker than expected and also to give players a reward for flanking around and securing objectives that might be behind enemy lines.
The penultimate objective for both teams was to locate and retrieve three sets of artillery shells that were located around the site and the placement of these objectives brought the two teams in the constant close contact throughout the hour in which they need to be collected, with the US Forces securing one set, and the OpFor securing two sets of artillery rounds.
The final objective of the weekend required the US Forces to fight back through the site to their original respawn point on Day One and hold the position until their forces could be securely extracted. This resulted in the US Forces having the fight through the same low ground area in which they had become pinned downed in whilst transporting the Hellfire missile although unlike earlier in the day, the US Forces got through this bottleneck area quickly which prevented the OpFor for utilising the high gourd against them as effectively. However there was still an uphill battle to be fought through and the US Forces slowly but surely began to secure ground towards their final objective, making use of some of the shallow valleys to shelter them from the general high ground areas which were being held by OpFor. Whilst they continued to make progress the OpFor consolidated their position right by the objective as all of the US Forces concentrated their attacks on one area meaning that there was little danger of a flanking attack. This concentration of players ultimately led to the denial of the objective to the US Forces preventing them from securely extracting from the valley.
With the action of the weekend finishing at 16:00 hours, and the committee beginning the collapse the site down to ensure that we left the site in as good a state as when we arrived, the scores stood as follows
US Forces: 1,040 points
OpFor: 1,120 points
Which reflects the close fought nature of the weekend, with momentum swinging from each side almost on an hourly basis.
With every event there will of course be aspects that in reflection we can learn from, and we have asked for any and all player feedback to help make the next one better, and there have already been some small changes highlighted that we’ll be looking to incorporate – Adam S
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